OREANDA-NEWS. May 14, 2008. The EBRD has been Ukraine’s partner since its independence. It is testament to the significance the Bank attaches to this nation of 46 million people, that for the first time in its history the Bank will hold an Annual Meeting for the second time in the same city. The EBRD held its 1998 Annual Meeting in Kiev, and it will return to the capital of Ukraine in May 2008 to take stock of the past 10 years and also to look ahead, reported the press-centre of EBRD.

The Bank has a balance sheet in Ukraine of which it can be proud. More than ?3 billion in EBRD funds have been invested in some 150 projects. But it is not only the financial commitment which is impressive; perhaps even more striking is the depth and breadth of the Bank’s projects in the country. Since 1991, the Bank has invested in virtually every sector of the economy that is covered by its mandate, from agribusiness to the financial sector, from road construction to shipping, from property development to steel production.

Today, the EBRD’s focus in Ukraine is on infrastructure and energy efficiency. The country uses 3,3 times more energy to produce each unit of GDP than the EU-25 average. A ?100 million energy efficiency framework was put in place in October 2006 to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to invest in energy savings. A loan to ArcelorMittal includes a large component to finance energy efficiency improvements.

Elsewhere, the EBRD provided a ?76 million loan to the Alchevsk iron and steel works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Both these projects involve the purchase of carbon credits.

A visitor to Ukraine today will find a country of huge contrasts. The capital Kiev is booming, but the strong inflow of foreign investment has yet to reach remoter parts of the country. The most expensive Western cars (naturally with tinted glass) are speeding down newly upgraded roads only to be held up by ancient ox-carts. Ukraine is home to the famously rich black chernozem soil, yet many agricultural activities barely reach subsistance levels.

Despite achievements and undeniable progress, therefore, much remains to be done in Ukraine. Development is never a one-way, linear process. As surely as there will be be
slow-downs, detours and setbacks, there will also be new impulses for progress. The EBRD understands this as a call to intensify its efforts as a strong and dependable partner in the region and the country.